the fam

the fam

Monday, 2 July 2012

A Mother's Choice

Apologies in advance for this slightly ranty post. As usual time has slipped away and the blog posts have been erratic but today I felt compelled to take to the laptop in full-on Mummy mode. It was triggered by a conversation this morning with a very lovely friend of mine who also writes a fabulous blog as a self-employed designer mum to a baby boy. Since admitting to making the choice to bottle feed her son she has been subjected to totally uncalled for nasty comments by a woman who calls herself a 'lactivist'. At first I wasn't exactly sure what one of these was but had a sneaking suspicion I knew where this was hackles were already up.
If you want to breast-feed, fine. If you can't or don't want to breast-feed, that's also's a choice. The 'lactivists' don't seem to get this at all and to me it's all a bit, well, odd. I even saw a cartoon on a lactivist page that said 'Breastfeeding - because in the Zombie Apocalypse you won't make it to the store for Formula" 
There's also a website selling 'lactivist' merchandise...I was quite taken aback. After seeing all the pro-breastfeeding products I was half expecting to also see a 'formula fed' section....'Failure To Launch' perhaps...

Don't get me wrong I have the utmost respect for breastfeeding mums BUT I also have the same respect for formula or bottle feeding mums. The important factor being that your baby is fed...that's all. We all know the 'breast is best' mantra but for some this is definitely not the best option or in other cases (like myself) totally impossible. I just don't understand this forced attitude towards breast feeding and basically making all other mums feel like complete failures. As I've said in other posts what new mums need most is support irrespective of their feeding choices. Every woman has already been through the birth which can be traumatic enough and even if all things go smoothly it takes a huge toll on the body. After that experience the last thing any mum needs to feel is a failure for simply trying to feed her baby.
My first son almost starved after his first week with me in hospital when we were told the feeding was all going well. He cried constantly and I knew something was wrong but the nurse insisted he was getting plenty of milk when in fact he'd hardly had a drop...there was no milk. I also had to deal with the fact that my massive row of stitches made it impossible for me to hold my baby anywhere near me so trying to breast feed whilst holding him backwards like a rugby ball was not easy to say the least!

Those pesky stitches...
After more tears, being manhandled by midwives at home and pumped like a prize cow, my other half took things into his own hands as he couldn't bear to see me or our son suffering and bought bottles and formula. Finally our baby was properly fed, calm and he slept! The relief was immense...but that feeling of failure remained.
Fast forward to son number 2 and I stood my ground. Apart from the first 5 hours after his birth when I was unconscious and the nurses tried to get him to feed, I was adamant I was not going to go through that horrendous experience again. I asked for a bottle of milk for him and anyone would have thought I'd asked for a bottle of bleach from the look on the nurse's face.
Evil formula-feeding mummy
The sad thing is that I was treated totally differently by some of the ward staff once I'd decided to bottle feed but at least I knew exactly how much milk my baby was getting and this time I felt strong enough to make my own didn't matter what anyone else thought.
I wonder how this 'lactivist' would feel if they found themselves in mine or my friend's position...what then? As with giving birth and life in general not everything goes to plan! My water birth quite frankly sank without trace.
Babies need to be fed and as long as they are healthy that's all that matters. What mums don't need is being subjected to abuse for doing their best for their baby.

Happy healthy little boys


  1. You are quite right! I completely agree.
    I breast fed both mine as long as I could and feel really lucky that I was able to. It was agony with my first for a couple of weeks ( won't go into that) and extremely messy as I was like a fountain and had to sleep on towels. However we are all different and there is no way I would ever judge a mother or tell her she shouldn't bottle feed. The only thing that really gets my hackles up is when I see a pregnant woman smoking. Don't set me off on that one. Big hug to you lovely chops X

    1. That's brilliant Gabs - I'm so glad that you managed to breast feed. I really would have liked to but it just wasn't meant to be. I just wish some mums were nicer to each other as it can be hard enough bringing up kids without the extra pressure!

  2. Couldn't agree more Kipperchops. Breastfeed Millie for a couple of weeks, but she lost weight and well it just wasn't working ... with much reluctance I gave up! This again happened with Bea. The thing is .... I really wanted to breastfeed, would have loved to .. but like many it just didn't work! I just have respect to any mum ... its hard work what any path you take ... think we all deserve a pat on the back! Lots of Love Custardface xx

    1. Absolutely! It is tough when you so desperately want it to work - I just about managed half a bottle of milk by expressing but because of the op the milk just wasn't there. It made me so sad but in the end I realised that if mum's happy then baby will be happy and there's no point beating yourself up about it

  3. Totally agree with you, it's an individual choice, I bottle fed my son and I'm proud of it!

    I had my reasons for this choice and felt it was so unfair how I was judged for my decision with people putting me down all the time.

  4. Excellent post. Breast feeding is a choice ,as is bottle feeding. We shouldnt be made to feel like outlaws because we choose to bottle feed are babies. Dont they also say "mum knows best". People need to get on with their own lives and leave new mums alone.

  5. Hi Giddy - you already know my thoughts on this. An excellent post that tells it how it is. I tried with my first and at 8 weeks my health visitor said I as doing fine, but at the check in my Dr said - 'Let's be honest he's scrawny, go home, open the formula and feed your baby!'. I never looked back. It is all about choice.


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